Settling trust and estate disputes during COVID-19 and beyond: insights from Nathan Yii


Ahead of the Vic 8th Annual Tax Forum Online, we sat down with presenter Nathan Yii, CTA, Private Wealth Lawyer, Chartered Tax Advisor and SMSF Specialist Advisor with boutique legal practice Nathan Yii Lawyers in Melbourne.

Taking place in the first week of the Vic 8th Annual Tax Forum Online program, on 15 October, Nathan’s session, Tax effective resolution of trust and estate disputes: making the best of a bad situation, is part of the event’s SME stream.

The session deals with the rise in trust and estate dispute matters during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nathan will draw upon a relevant case study to explore how tax advisors and lawyers should work together to make the best of a bad situation and seek the best outcome for their client.

“My practice is largely preventative planning, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have seen many instances where disputes have arisen simply because clients have failed to properly address their estate planning during their lifetime, or beneficiaries were in significant financial need and were left little or no option but to challenge an estate,” Nathan explains.

“As a tax practitioner, my advice is often to manage revenue implications in the planning, litigation and settlement phases of matters and where disputes break out, it is important to keep one’s eye on the revenue in reaching an appropriate resolution in matters.”

Topics covered in this informative and practical session include:

  • Ownership structures including personally held, family trust and superannuation
  • The tax implications in dealing with estate and wealth disputes and not losing track of the tax bill
  • Tax-effectively addressing estate disputes by agreement or court order
  • Division 128 CGT Rollover and Victorian duty concessions on death and applying them in a dispute context
  • Factoring in superannuation death benefits in the dispute and minimising death benefits tax
  • Transferring control of family discretionary trusts without triggering tax

“In a dispute setting you see it all – the good, the bad and the ugly. However, when addressing disputes and being commercial about matters, tax practitioners can strategically make a difference; tax knowledge can often be a bargaining chip in resolving disputes,” Nathan said.

The role of tax practitioners in settling trust and estate disputes

While the session is focused around the impact of COVID-19, the topic of resolving trust and estate disputes effectively has a wider impact, and is a vital topic for tax practitioners to understand at any time.

“Given an ageing population, we will see a transfer of wealth in the next 10 or so years from the “baby boomers” to the next generation,” Nathan said.

“I would hope most transfers of wealth would happen smoothly without any hiccups. However, not every family is the same and disputes may break out between children or other beneficiaries.”

Nathan said that when addressing disputes, lawyers and clients can’t simply be left to “fight it out” without thinking about revenue implications.

“Tax practitioners can play a huge role in the dispute resolution process and the use of rollovers or exemptions is key in getting a good outcome for everyone,” he said.

“Whilst prevention is always better than a cure, when disputes break out, practitioners need to work together make the best of a bad situation which includes managing the tax bill.”

Join us for the VIC 8th Annual Tax Forum Online – no matter where you are

Running until 5 November 2020, the VIC 8th Annual Tax Forum Online promises a program designed to equip you with the latest knowledge and information so you can continue to best advise and assist your clients through COVID-19 and beyond.

Open to tax professionals around the country, this virtual event is a must-attend for practitioners looking to sharpen their tax knowledge.

Nathan Yii, CTA, works with boutique legal practice Nathan Yii Lawyers. Nathan’s main areas of practice are in tax-effective structuring, estate planning and management and resolution of SMSF, trusts and estate disputes. He deals with a range of clients including high net worth individuals, private family groups and small to medium enterprises.

He is a long-time member of The Tax Institute, and has been involved as a member and student representative on the Education Quality Assurance Board and a presenter at Tax Institute conferences.


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